Earlier this month our resident big man on campus, DWB, put out a call for all the schwagtacular gear that recruits were snatching up this fall. We didn’t get much for submissions at first but luckily a friend from the north passed along photos that ranged from “a bunch of junk” to Dr. Seuss to a PwC cookie describe as “soft” and “amazing.”
Things have quieted down since then but thankfully, another enterprising young recruit who is right in the wheelhouse of recruiting passed along a couple more pics that include examples of loot from Deloitte and Grant Thornton.
First our tipster’s thoughts on GT’s offering: “The GT cup is ok but the straw is totally useless.” And for the gazillionth time, purple just sucks.
According to our tipster, the Deloitte sanitizer is really the most perplexing item: “I am not sure what to think of Deloitte’s hand sanitizer.”
So what do we make of this? It’s not a surprise that Deloitte isn’t a “If it’s brown flush it down; if it’s yellow keep it mellow” kinda place but what does this bottle of freshness really communicate? Do they simply think college students are unkempt? Is Deloitte making the assumption that all the recruits are applying there because the Occupy movement rejected their applications? Or, since there is fairly new leadership in place, does this speak more directly to the firm’s position on germs in general? Put simply: Are Joe Echevarria and Barry Salzgerg germophobes? I’m inclined to go with option 3 but would entertain other theories.
Yes my friends, the Purple Rose of Chicago’s focus on all things dynamic and pinstripe hating was enough to catapult the firm to the #1 spot on Vault’s Accounting 50. Va rnton’s rise “an upset of sorts” but I’ll go ahead and say this is more worthy of “shocker” status. This is like “Dewey Defeats Truman.” It’s the Miracle on Ice. Hell, it’s like when Brad Pitt finds Gwenyth Paltrow’s head at the end of Se7en (what do you MEAN you haven’t seen it?).
Don’t get me wrong, Grant Thornton is a fine firm. Sure, purple isn’t my favorite but the people there seem nice and very capable but HONESTLY this was not expected. When he hears the news, Stephen Chipman will probably start running through halls of the Chicago office sans
pants trousers rallying everyone down to the nearest pub (pictures, please). Anyway, let’s get to the Top 25 (previous year in parenthesis), shall we?
1 (23) Grant Thornton
2 (2) PwC
3 (1) Deloitte
4 (3) Rothstein Kass
5 (5) Dixon Hughes Goodman
6 (6) Moss Adams
7 (11) WithumSmith + Brown
8 (8) Friedman
9 (4) Marcum
10 (28) EisnerAmper
11 (14) Eide Bailly
12 (18) SS&G Financial Services
13 (12) Berdon
14 (7) Elliott Davis
15 (NR) Rehmann
16 (33) Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
17 (17) Armanino McKenna
18 (16) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
19 (41) Marks Paneth & Shron
20 (20) Schenck
21 (10) Cherry, Bekaert & Holland
22 (21) Ernst & Young
23 (22) KPMG
24 (25) McGladrey
25 (24) BDO
As for how GT orchestrated this epic upset, here’s Vault’s Derek Loosvelt:
Although the Big Four firms PwC and Deloitte both significantly outscored Grant Thornton (the perennial fifth largest accounting firm in the country) in terms of prestige, Grant Thornton handily beat PwC and Deloitte in nearly every quality of life category. In other words, while the two Big Four firms’ names still carry much more weight than Grant Thornton’s in the marketplace, insiders are much more pleased with their day to day work lives at the non-Big Four GT than their peers are at PwC and Deloitte. In fact, non-Big Four firms ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in all but three quality of life categories (these rankings will be released over the next couple of days). Although Grant Thornton did not top any single category, it consistently placed ahead of PwC and Deloitte. Particular tough categories for the Big Four firms were hours and overall satisfaction.
So there are a couple of stories here: 1) Holy shit – Grant Thornton?! and 2) prestige seems to carry less and less weight in favor of quality of life for those looking to choose a public accounting firm as their employer. We’ll be covering the Vault list and the firms therein with more posts but until then, feel free to comment on the Top 25 and what you make of GT as the new #1.
Layoffs occurring at director levels in the support staff and maybe other areas.
This included a director in communications, another in Knowledge Management and “others are forthcoming.” Email us updated with the latest details if you’re in the know.
If you’re a fan of pinstripes, you won’t be pleased.
As a commenter noted yesterday, this obviously isn’t applicable to the Yankees. The Cubs on the other hand…well, I think we all know that story.
In Northern Ireland, anyway. Yes, if you’re moseying around Belfast and catch your spouse in an intimate embrace with someone who isn’t you, your heart may be broken but that doesn’t mean you’re going to divorce their cheating ass. Why, you ask? Well, you see, celebrities, being the model global citizens that they are, seem understand that marriage doesn’t really mean that you can’t have sex with other people, even if you haven’t expressed a desire to do so and regular Joes and Janes are starting to think that should be their attitude as well.
The UK Press Association reports, “one of the reasons for the shift may be the growing number of high profile celebrities that have publicly accepted their partner being unfaithful, according to consultancy and accountancy firm Grant Thornton, which carried out the matrimonial survey.” Yes Grant Thornton, fresh off their new ad campaign, is finding time to weigh in on marriage trends, although they readily admit they’re really just taking a stab at this:
Sally Longworth, partner at Grant Thornton’s Forensic and Investigations services practice, said: “The shift in the reasons for divorce is difficult to explain, although one potential influence could be the rise in the number of celebrities that are very publicly accepting their spouse’s infidelities.
Seems that GT is hard up for work in N.I.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has dismissed Grant Thornton as a defendant in a class-action shareholder lawsuit against GT, Koss Corp. and CEO Michael J. Koss, filed in January 2010 on behalf of plaintiff David Puskala and other Koss shareholders.
In his ruling, Adelman stated that the plaintiffs failed to make a case for GT’s epic failure to detect former Koss executive Sue Sachdeva’s $34 million embezzlement/hoarding scheme. Reasonable, considering GT auditors scared the crap out of old Sue, even though they were sticking newbies on the gig. “Fear was one thing. I thought it was imminent,” she said in a court deposition last year. “Their auditors, every time they walked in, I’d say, ‘This is it. They’re going to catch me.’” Shareholders’ issue – we assume – is that they didn’t. Year after year after year after year until 2009 rolled around and the whole house of cards came tumbling down.
The judge also dismissed claims of willful or reckless behavior against Michael Koss, saying “I conclude that the innocent explanations are more compelling than the inference of recklessness.” Meaning Mike couldn’t possibly have known Sue had been siphoning off millions in company money over a six year period, absent hanging out at her house and noticing all the fancy new shit she had strewn everywhere. And stashed in closets. And bursting out of her garage.
As for Grant Thornton, the judge wrote that the occurrence of fraud and failure to detect it doesn’t imply recklessness on the part of the accounting firm, but rather that the firm was negligent. While it is clear that Sachdeva used her position with Koss to bypass the company’s not-rock-solid internal controls, it is also believed that the controls were sufficient so as not to be obviously unreliable to a reasonable person (or auditor fresh out of accounting school). We’re looking forward to hearing how audit professors use this decision to emphasize the cavernous depth between “negligence” and “recklessness” on the part of auditors.
Sachdeva is still a defendant in the Puskala lawsuit and is currently serving 11 years for the fraud.
Grant Thornton dismissed from Koss shareholder lawsuit [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
From the mailbag, a tipster quotes his OMP:
“Compensation and bonuses have been approved. Final letters will be received from national HR by end of day tomorrow [i.e. today] and will be communicated by your practice leader before August 1.”
Fill us in if you have gotten the news or email us the details.
Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the six global audit, tax and advisory organizations, admitted 26 new partners and principals to the firm, effective August 1. These partners and principals are based throughout the firm’s offices across the country.
Partners and principals admitted to the firm are thought leaders upon whom the firm relies to provide personalized attention in serving clients. These professionals have demonstrated consistently their extraordinary ability to understand and meet the needs of client companies and industries. They have also demonstrated long-term leadership in the accounting profession and the community.
“These professionals have demonstrated extraordinary client service, driving value for the dynamic firms we serve,” said Stephen Chipman, Grant Thornton’s CEO. “These leaders exemplify Grant Thornton’s mission of making a difference – to our colleagues, our clients, our profession and our communities.”
It’s also strange that no one from GT has dropped any news regarding compensation discussions as this is about the time we should start hearing it or sayeth comments from the last post on the subject. Anyway, give the new partners a slap on the back or at least a nice note.
The latest from the
Can we get a thread opened about Grant Thornton raises and promotions. We started finding out promotions yesterday and the raise info came along with it. Thanks,
Not much news out of Grant Thornton lately so thanks for reaching out. The last we heard from Purple Rose of Chicago was that auditors were wanting their raises and bonuses to rival the Big 4 after a hellish busy season. I’d still be willing to be that Michelle Bachmann has a better chance of becoming President than GT’s raises keeping pace with the Big 4 but I do like a good longshot.
So if you’re in the House of Chipman and got news about a promotion, let us know and share the details of your newfound riches.
As we know, your information technology teams can be what holds things together at your firm in times of strife. If you’re good to these people, they’re good to you. And if you treat them poorly, well…good luck to you.
Grant Thornton has been recognized as one of Computerworld’s best places for IT professionals to work, the only accounting firm on the list. It’s a typical ranking with the general buzzword descriptions along with examples of why you should be hella-jealous that you don’t work there. For the IT gang at GT, not only do they get to show off their culinary talents at “annual chili cook-offs and dessert competitions” but when they go above and beyond the call of duty, there seems to be a Hallmark system in place.
To encourage employees to thank their co-workers and recognize a job well done, the IT department developed a way to voluntarily track the sending and receiving of thank-you notes. The names of both senders and recipients are submitted for drawings in which the winners receive a gift cards.
What’s not entirely clear is if these “thank-yous” are inspired by Stephen Chipman’s past communications or if was simply another way that the IT team was able to avoid human contact. Either way, it sounds like they enjoy a decent gig at the Purple Rose of Cairo and that will keep anything catastrophic from happening.
Chinese companies certainly have had their share of problems with financial reporting in the U.S. but I had no idea that it would come to this.
The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of Weikang Bio-Technology Group Co., Inc. (OTC Markets: WKBT.PK – News) (“WKBT,” “Weikang” or the “Company”), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Western prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals and other health and nutritional products in the People’s Republic of China, today announced that Grant Thornton (“GT”), one of the world’s leading organizations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms, has verified that the cash amounts listed on the Company’s SEC filings for 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 are consistent with account statements obtained from WKBT’s banks directly by GT.
“Given the recent change in auditors and my new chairmanship of the WKBT Audit Committee, we authorized the Grant Thornton review to take place last week, and are now releasing the results,” said Jeffery Chuang, independent director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of WKBT. “Weikang continues to advance as a U.S. publicly-traded company and we are committed to high standards in the thoroughness of our financial information,” said Mr. Chuang, a U.S. CPA who is based in Southern California.
Obviously this is completely harmless compared to, say, threatening to take auditors hostage but as far as giant wastes of time go, it’s right near the top.
Maybe! At this point, what harm would it do?
In Detroit, the largest city in [Michigan], the upcoming budgeting process carries an implicit threat: If local politicians can’t convince the state they have what it takes to repair the city’s finances, the state could appoint an outside official to do the job for them. The city has already hit several of the triggers to initiate the process that could install an emergency manager, say local politicians, who are scrambling to keep the city government out of receivership.
But would-be emergency managers say they can succeed where elected officials have failed. They stand to draw six-figure salaries from the local governments under their management, but some talk about this work as if it were a civic duty.
“We feel very strongly that not only is there a business opportunity here, but we want to be part of a solution for the greater good,” said Michael Imber, a principal in Grant Thornton LLP’s corporate advisory and restructuring services practice in New York. “We’re absolutely ready to help.”
From the mailbag:
Apparently, management finally recognizes that this was a real shitty busy season and as a last ditch effort to keep hemorrhaging seniors, is going to give some large bonuses and raises. Audit is to get increased comp because of how bad it was on our side. I mean GT-Chicago lost 3 seniors right before and 3 during busy season. Plus, we had a team working on a restatement that were working 80-100 hour weeks since November. I know GT will never pay out like the Big 4, but I’m curious to see if we’re in the ballpark this time around.
Who doesn’t love aggravated Grant Thornton auditors on a Monday morning? Frankly (and I know I’m not alone here), I’ll be floored like an Animal Kingdom Superfecta ticket holder, if GT pays out like the Big 4. However, because Stephen Chipman and GT have been on such a tear the past year – shedding less dynamic offices, making dynamic acquisitions – it’s possible some at GT may see better raises this year but it I’m guessing it won’t be the audit practice.
But our tipster’s email seems fairly optimistic (in a bitter, burned out auditor sort of way) since the attrition variable seems to be in full effect. If GT SAs are indeed heading for the exits, then perhaps there will be some pleasantly surprised GT dynamos after last year’s disappointment. Keep us updated.
As we mentioned this morning, Accounting Today reported – in an exclusive with Stephen Chipman! – that Grant Thornton is “planning a major marketing campaign later in the year to reposition the Chicago-based firm around the world.” Having had the luxury of watching a rival firm go through the process, we can’t help but think that GT won’t make as bold of a change but we’d love to be wrong about that.
Chipman told AT that GT wasn’t trying to jam into the Bigs saying, “We made it clear that we’re not building a firm to audit GE. Let’s get clear about the verticals and the skills.” So if you take SC at his word what exactly will this major brand repositioning involve? Some initial thoughts:
1. Underpants Gnome Accounting will become a specialty advisory service.
2. Poaching a certain golfer from a competitor.
3. Opting for pastel pinks and blues in a new logo to provide an “alternative.”
4. Four words: Gary Busey, Tax Partner.
5. Your ideas.
That’s because a source close to GT has told us “the deal with Moss Adams is dead.”
As for the why, our source told us, “The feedback from the Moss Adams board was that the MA partnership would not adequately support the merger.” Whether or not that’s true doesn’t take away from the fact that MA squeezed by GT in the GC Coolest Accounting Firm bracket and, thus, no MA partner worth their salt would want to join forces with GT and have to decipher hand-written notes from Stephen Chipman.
Despite this setback, that doesn’t mean GT isn’t on the prowl but we’ve got no idea who they might have their eye on, so we’d invite you to speculate on who that might be and get in touch if you know anything.
After yesterday’s news that LECG that was more or less pulling the plug, Grant Thornton finally put out a press release that they were acquiring a “significant portion” of the company’s business.
GT is taking on 270 employees in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Portland across all its service groups. Naturally, Stephen Chipman is thrilled to share this dynamic news, “We are pleased to welcome these outstanding individuals to Grant Thornton LLP,” SC said, “I am confident that they will fit in perfectly with our people — intellectually curious, talented individuals who want to make a difference with their clients, in their workplace and in their communities.”
Which was a perfect segue into this:
“As I have stated before, our goal is to be the leading audit, tax and advisory firm serving dynamic organizations in our chosen markets,” continued Chipman. “Dynamic companies are companies that are ambitious and growing, expanding internationally. They are dealing with critical events or transactions and are in need of our value-added, integrated service solutions. We will continue to explore additional strategic mergers and acquisitions as our balance sheet is healthy [Ed. note: care to share?] and we are in a position to attract similar talent.”
In other words, GT is still on the prowl for more people to join their party. Any interested parties need to come with dynamism in boatloads.
Remember those GT/Moss Adams rumors from back in January? At the time, our post sent both firms calling for plumbers but we still mangaged to get a copy of an email from Moss Adams CEO Rick Anderson that denied the rumor in an email to the firm’s partners. Everything has been quiet since then mostly because…well, it’s busy season. Granted, firm leaders like Stephen Chipman and Rick Anderson aren’t thigh-deep in spreadsheets like most of you so the fact it’s entirely plausible that while you’re all distracted, TPTB have been courting each other.
We received this brief note from a tipster yesterday:
Rumor is [Grant Thornton] [is] about to announce big west coast deal.
Our source originally speculated that a tax/valuation/consulting boutique was the target because of an old Andersen connection but then told us that the latest word from the west coast is that Moss Adams is back in the picture. In our original post, we went over the reasons for and against the GranMoss merger and frankly it still could go either way (we’re leaning “no” at this point). That said, Grant Thornton has been on a buying spree, most recently picking up some attest services from the LECG Corp. fire sale, so a merger of some kind wouldn’t be a surprise but WHO?? We’re listening to any and all well-founded or crackpot theories.
Moss Adams has declined to comment on the rumor thus far and Grant Thornton did not return an email requesting comment.
UPDATE: This just in from a Grant Thornton tipster:
While I have no actual basis for substantiating this, we have a Moss Adams wireless signal in our office in the central region. There is no Moss Adams office in our building, or even out state, its been there since about January when the rumors first popped up. I just thought it was interesting. I have no insight into any of this, I’m just a lowly peon staff…
Perhaps there’s an explanation for this but I’m no expert on the wireless signals and whatnot so I’ll leave it to you to reason this out.
A new survey of more than 300 chief audit executives (CAEs) by Grant Thornton LLP finds that while nearly half believe that the shifting regulatory landscape poses the greatest threat to their company, a vast majority (88%) do not believe that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) should be repealed. Of those that believe SOX should be repealed, the cost of compliance is the main reason for doing so. “Since the passage of SOX, organizations have had to dedicate significant resources to comply with a host of new laws and regulations,” noted Warren Stippich, a Chicago-based partner and Grant Thornton’s national Governance, Risk and Compliance solution leader. “Based on discussions with various CAEs during the survey process, many believe that SOX brings a continued focus by management on financial and governance-related controls. However, CAEs believe that compliance audit processes are now well-defined and are currently exploring ways to contribute value creation to the organization well beyond compliance monitoring and reporting.” [GT]
This week we learned that Dixon Hughes and Goodman & Co. would be wedded in CPA firm bliss on March 1st. We’ve also seen a couple of smaller mergers announced this week in the tri-state area: Rosen Seymour Shapss Martin & Company LLP and Kahn, Hoffman & Hochman, LLP formed Kahn Hoffman & Hochman and Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC and ERE, LLP.
But e heard a rumor that trumps all of these:
The new rumor is that Grant Thornton and Moss Adams are merging. I have it on good authority (an industry consultant and the MP of a California firm).
Okay, so not exactly rock solid but intriguing enough for us to ask around. So far, Grant Thornton spokeswoman Kristi Grgeta has not returned our emails or voicemails and Moss Adams has declined to comment at this time. We’re poking around with other sources but still waiting to hear back.
So for now, let’s just go with the hypothetical. If GT and Moss were to combine, it would make them the 5th largest firm in the U.S., narrowly edging out McGladrey, with about $1.5 billion in revenues, going by Accounting Today’s most recent figures. Currently they are 6th (GT) and 11th (MA) on the AT100 list and 6th (MA) and 23rd (GT) on Vault’s flagship ranking. Their combined forces would have nearly 800 partners and over 7,100 total employees, if you assume no layoffs.
While all that might serve Stephen Chipman’s desire more dynamic clients (and perhaps more blogging fodder?), it would certainly require a few more hand-written notes. Not only that but GT already has a presence in every major market that Moss Adams does unless they’re looking to mine the Eugene, Oregon market for LOSERS and have reconsidered their divestment in Albuquerque. Also culturally, this seems like a strange fit as GT strikes us as pretty buttoned-down while Moss Adams is more laid back but maybe we’ve got that wrong. You tell us.
Regardless, Grant Thornton has voiced interest in merger possibilities and picked up Huron Consulting’s Disputes & Investigations practice last year, so who knows!? Both firms just closed the books on 2010 and maybe they’re laying some groundwork?
So, what do the GT and MA people make of this? Hell, anyone can chime in, we’re just finding this particular rumor pret-tay interesting. Some things make sense and some don’t, so we’ll leave it to you to hash out. And of course, if any of this sounds familiar because, you know, you heard something in a meeting about this very topic, email us. We’ll update you with anything we hear.
About a year ago at this time, we just started learning about Sue Sachdeva, the convicted embezzler extraordinaire of headphone cobbler Koss. It took a little less than a year for everything to get sorted out including quite the inventory of